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This article is part three of a five-part series titled "The Business of Illicit Massage. Before the Greentree Health Spa was shut down last year, sex buyers crowed about the place on an erotic online review site called Rubmaps, a digital forum that lists some 7, illicit massage-related businesses across the United States. Most described in graphic terms the kind of sex they could buy at the Framingham spa.
Indeed, on any on any given day there are about 9, online searches in the Boston area on Rubmaps and other internet sites for places to buy sex, according to Demand Abolition , an anti-human trafficking organization based in Cambridge.
Company executives, lawyers, police officers, teachers and politicians have been arrested in stings over recent years. A new study by the D. One of them is a Boston-area resident who asked for anonymity to tell his story. We're calling him Tom. Tom says what at first was a distraction became an increasingly expensive obsession. Watertown psychologist Joel Ziff, a sex addiction therapist who has worked with hundreds of men, says illicit massage parlors are a gateway into other forms of commercial sex because they appear safer and are less pricey than other forms of prostitution.
About 11 percent of sex buyers said their recent paid sex transactions were at a massage parlors, according to a recent Demand Abolition study. Take a man we call Jeff, an advocate of legalizing erotic massage, who believes the industry is mainly a victimless activity. The Boston-area professional said he is divorced with little opportunity for intimacy.
Instead, he spends his money at erotic massage parlors near his four-bedroom home in a wealthy suburb west of Boston. But a growing number of anti-trafficking specialists and law enforcement officials say women are being coerced into the business, manipulated by financial debts, fear and shame to stay quiet.